Our wonderful community of artists came together on Tuesday, April 27th for our much anticipated Virtual Dinner Party. This project came about after we had collectively been exploring the tondo, or circular shape, as a new compositional format. We had also been having conversations throughout the pandemic about which artists through history we would enjoy having dinner with, imagining the lively conversations that would ensue between artists past and present. Since the tondo form could so readily be imagined as a dinner plate, it seemed the ideal time to come together for a virtual dinner party (with Judy Chicago's famous Dinner Party installation not far from our thoughts).
To get things started, each participant was assigned an artist to research and then were asked to use that research to create a circular image that would be influenced by that artist but showcase their own unique creative vision. Works were to be created in a circle with a 10" to 12" diameter and could be done in any media. Artists worked on paper, wood, canvas and synthetic surfaces and with watercolor, charcoal, gouache, and mixed media. One piece was made as a video, another one made with rice. Materials were used in a wide variety of ways and represent a deep investment in each artist's creative process and in some cases, a movement towards something completely new and different.
The circle format itself proved an exciting and welcome change from the rectangle and/or square and offered a different type of visual and emotional engagement. Without hard edges, the circle shape offered fluidity, motion, and sometimes a testy central focus that needed to addressed. The directionality of the circle, whether it could be viewed from all directions or in a fixed state, also came into question. A myriad range of solutions were found through lots of experimentation, multiple versions, and thoughtful planning.
Working with inspiration from the Renaissance to present day and with subjects ranging from landscape to abstraction to conceptual art, these finished tondo pieces represent a delightful look into the concepts, materials, and approaches that have fascinated artists over the centuries. Our list of dinner guests and their companion artists include: Chris Davidson ~ Helen Frankenthaler | Jan Wishinsky ~ Henri Matisse | Jason McInnes ~ Andy Goldsworthy | Joan Baer ~ William Kentridge | Karen Hovey ~ Hilma af Klint | Katharine Hathaway ~ Louise Bourgeois | Mary Gomberg ~ Joan Mitchell | Mary Ridley ~ Mark Bradfordlee | Phyllis Rabineau ~ Lee Bontecou | Susan Gamerman ~ Paul Klee | Sue Teller ~ Yayoi Kusama | Kaye Buchman ~ Leonardo da Vinci.